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Ex-Argentinian president charged with fraud, assets frozen

Kirchiner

BUENOS AIRES: Assets belonging to former Argentine president Cristina Kirchner were frozen Friday after she was charged with damaging national finances by manipulating the Central Bank’s exchange operations during her last months in office.

Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio said it was “evident that the then president gave instructions — which without a doubt were developed jointly — to her economy minister to carry out the financial operation,” according to a statement released on the Supreme Court’s website.

Bonadio ordered 15 million pesos’ worth ($1 million) of Kirchner’s assets to be frozen.

He delivered the same charge and asset freeze to Axel Kicillof, Kirchner’s minister of the economy from 2013 to 2015 as well as former Central Bank president Alejandro Vanoli and 12 other former members of its board.

Kirchner, who held office from 2007 to 2015, is accused of having caused a loss in monetary authority through speculative dollar sales by the Central Bank at the end of 2015, just before the election of center-right President Mauricio Macri.

According to the current government, which opposed Kirchner, the operation caused a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to Latin America’s third largest economy.

The leftist former leader appeared in court in mid-April, where she refused to answer questions and instead presented a document demanding Bonadio’s dismissal.

Bonadio is an open critic of Kirchner, who in the past tried to have him dismissed from his post.

Kirchner, 63, is no longer protected by political immunity since leaving office in December after two consecutive terms.

She has also been implicated in an embezzlement case, and along with her son, has been swept up in legal proceedings over irregularities in family real estate activities.

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